The 8 Best 7-String Guitars for Alternative & Metal in 2022

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Editor's Choice
Jackson Pro Series Misha Mansoor Juggernaut HT7
Jackson Pro Series Misha Mansoor Juggernaut HT7
  • Incredible tone and playability for the price
  • A perfect 7-string for djent
  • The stock Jackson MM1 pickups are very articulate and brutal sounding
  • Truss rod adjustment is very easy to access and adjust
For Budget
Ibanez Gio GRG7221QA
Ibanez Gio GRG7221QA
  • 25.5'' Scale Length makes transitioning from a six-string guitar more effortless
  • A high-quality and affordable guitar
  • An excellent guitar for articulate hard rock and metal tones
For Recording
ESP LTD SH7
ESP LTD SH7 "Sir Headly" EverTune
  • EverTune bridge keeps your guitar perfectly in tune, no matter how hard you play
  • The rounder and shorter neck is easy on your hands and makes for a better playing experience
  • Get the best of both worlds with active and passive pickups

It can be tough to know where to start if you’re looking for the best 7-string guitars for alternative or metal. With so many options available, how do you know which is right for you? 

With so many different brands, signature models, pickups, and design options, it can feel overwhelming to pick the right one. Also, with guitar shops stocking fewer guitars, chances are you’ll have to gamble on your next guitar purchase and buy one before ever playing it.

That’s why I’ve put together this list of 8 of the best 7-string guitars on the market today. Whether you’re looking for an affordable or top-of-the-line option, we’ve covered you for all use cases.

Let’s get started!

The Best 7 String Guitars in 2022 At a Glance

Editor’s Choice: Jackson Pro Series Misha Mansoor Signature Juggernaut HT7

Editor's Choice
Jackson Pro Series Misha Mansoor Juggernaut HT7

Looking for an electric guitar that can handle the heaviest of metal styles? Look no further than the Jackson Pro Series Misha Mansoor signature model. This beast of a guitar has everything you need to get the job done and then some.

You won't find a better 7-string guitar on the market for the price. So if you're serious about your metal, don't hesitate to give the Jackson Misha Mansoor Pro Series Juggernaut HT7 a try.

The Jackson Pro Series Misha Mansoor signature model is a beast of a guitar. While it may be the “budget” model of the Periphery’s guitarist’s USA signature electric guitar (which is about $4,000 more expensive), for the price, you can’t find a better guitar for that heavy “djent” style music.

The specs of this guitar are perfect for finger agility with the 20″ neck radius and 24 jumbo frets. If you’re wondering what this means practically for you as a guitar player, well, the neck is super flat, fast, and has enough room to play up to the heal of the neck.

The roasted maple neck and fretboard is extremely comfortable within your hand and doesn’t feel sticky, so you can quickly move up and down the neck with ease.

The Misha Mansoor Signature Juggernaut HT7 also features a 1.75” nut width, and for 7-string guitars, this is narrower than most. So while this is still a wide neck, if you’re a guitar player with small hands, this might be an excellent option to consider when shopping for the best 7-string guitars.

If you’re a gigging musician, you will also appreciate that the side dot inlays glow in the dark. While this is a feature that doesn’t affect the overall tone and performance of the guitar, it’s a nice touch for a guitar in this price range to help you keep track of where you are on your electric guitar’s neck when in the dark.

This guitar also comes stock with Jackson’s locking tuners to provide extra tuning stability.

What makes this an impressive guitar is the incredibly aggressive and brutal tone you get from this guitar from the stock pickups.

The Jackson MM1 pickups are very articulate, even at punishing high gain settings. They are also highly versatile, having a split-coil design and a 5-way selector switch. This allows for a variety of tone options that truly makes this one of the best metal guitars for the money.

However, it’s worth mentioning that this guitar is designed to be played with distortion. The cleans are decent, but they aren’t why you want to buy this guitar. If you’re looking for a versatile seven-string guitar that does both clean and heavy tones excellently, then you might want to try the other Periphery’s signature model instead, cough, cough, Mark Holcomb.

If you want to supercharge the Misha Mansoor Pro Series Signature Juggernaut HT7, some users have reported swapping out the pickups for Misha’s Bare Knuckle Ragnarok Humbucker’s that come with the USA-made signature guitar.

– Pro Tip

When it comes to the through-body hardtail bridge, you’ll find it highly comfortable for palm mutes and incredibly easy for changing strings and adjusting intonation.

One last note about the great design of this guitar is how easy it is to adjust the truss rod in it. The truss rod is easily accessible where the body meets the neck; if you need to make any slight adjustments, it takes no time at all.

While this is an excellently made guitar, it does have a few drawbacks. First, it uses a plastic nut in the headstock, and a gig bag, or hardshell case, is sold separately.

However, If you’re looking for an electric guitar that can handle the heaviest of metal styles, the Jackson Pro Series Misha Mansoor signature model is perfect. This beast of an electric guitar has everything you need to get those pummeling metal tones you’re after.

Pros
  • The basswood body is very lightweight and comfortable
  • The stock MM1 Jackson Pickups are punchy and have a thick mid-range
  • The side dot inlays glow in the dark, so you can keep track of where you are on the neck when playing in the dark
  • A flat 20'' radius neck is built for speed and agility
Cons
  • It comes with a plastic nut
  • The loud body colors may be a turn-off for some players

Best Value for Money: Jackson JS32-7 DKA Dinky HT

Best Value for Money
Jackson JS32-7 DKA Dinky HT

Jackson has created a no-frills 7-string guitar that nevertheless delivers on sound and playability. The compound radius fretboard makes it exceptionally comfortable and easy to play. At the same time, the high-output humbuckers give you that meaty growl you want from your heavy metal guitar.

If you're looking for a great all-around metal guitar, then the Jackson JS32-7 DKA Dinky HT is a great option. Check it out today!

Suppose you’re an intermediate guitar player looking to extend the range of your playing without spending a to and not sacrificing quality. In that case, the Jackson JS32-7 DKA Dinky HT is the best value for money.

Jackson has created a no-frills 7-string guitar designed to give you that meaty growl you want from your heavy metal guitar. They also designed it to be exceptionally comfortable and fun to play.

Jackson has thought through all the details to make this a practical performance instrument. Some of the features that make this a hand-down winner are:

  • The compound radius of the fretboard
  • The binding on the fretboard
  • The Jackson High-Output Humbuckers

The compound radius of the 1-piece maple neck with Amaranth fingerboard goes from 12” up by the neck nut to 16” in the upper registers.

The rounder radius makes playing chunky open chords and barre chords more comfortable. In contrast, the flatter radius makes bends, slides, and fast lead lines a breeze.

The white binding along the fretboard also gives a smooth feel that enhances the speed and glide while playing up and down the neck.

The stock Jackson pickups run very hot and will give you that classic Djent-tone that all metal guitarists search for. There’s a three-way selector switch which is pretty standard for more affordable guitars, and a hardtail bridge that is comfortable on your hand for palm muting.

The clean tones of the Jackson JS32-7 Dinky aren’t the reason why you would buy this guitar. While they don’t sound terrible, they will not be your first choice for chimey and sparkly cleans.

Also, this guitar has a cheap plastic nut and Jackson die-cast tuners (no locking tuners), affecting the instrument’s overall tuning stability and intonation. However, you could modify these out for not too much extra investment.

Lastly, gig bags or hardshell cases are sold separately from this guitar. So you must factor that into your overall cost if you plan on safely storing your new purchase.

If you’re looking to add a 7-string guitar to your collection, then the Jackson JS32-7 DKA Dinky HT is a great option. It is affordable and checks off all the boxes for what makes a great metal guitar. The neck is fast and easy to play, and the tones are fat and aggressive.

This guitar won’t disappoint you, so check it out today!

Pros
  • You'll get that heavy tone you're searching for without breaking the bank
  • The compound neck radius is something you don't often find on guitars in this price range
  • The neck is sleek, fast, and fun to play
Cons
  • It doesn't come with a gig bag
  • Clean tones aren't anything to write home about

Best Budget: Ibanez Gio GRG7221QA

Best for Budget
Ibanez Gio GRG7221QA

The Ibanez Gio GRG7221QA is the best budget 7-string electric guitar on the market.

This Ibanez features that classic, fast Ibanez neck and crisp, clear metal tones, making it the perfect choice for those who want to shred. The standard six-string Strat length scale length of 25.5'' is also fantastic for those new to extended range guitars.

Suppose you're looking for an affordable 7-string guitar that doesn't compromise on quality or features. In that case, the Ibanez Gio GRG7221QA is an excellent buy.

Ibanez is the brand that took 7-string guitars mainstream. I remember special ordering an RG-7 back in the day because I wanted to get those deep guitar tones of bands like Korn.

So while the Ibanez Gio GRG7221QA may be the best 7-string guitar for a budget, this doesn’t mean that this is a cheap child’s guitar.

In fact, I may say that this guitar rivals the “best value for money” option on this list, and it’s really a toss-up between the two instruments. The only reason why this isn’t considered the best value for money is that the Jackson has the compound radius and the binding along the fingerboard.

However, the Ibanez Gio GRG7221QA is an excellent buy if you’re after that classic Ibanez neck speed and great hard rock and metal tones.

Another feature of this 7-string guitar that you don’t often find is that it has a scale length of 25.5”. This is a standard six-string Strat length and one you don’t often see on extended ranged guitars. Generally, the scale length is 26.6” or greater to ensure the Low B string has enough tension to not be floppy.

The 25.5” scale length is an excellent option for players switching back and forth between six and seven strings, as there won’t be a gigantic difference in feel. The only drawback to this scale length is that you might struggle with not having enough string tension with dropped tunings, and you should stick to playing in standard tuning or drop A.

Ibanez is a brand that is synonymous with metal music, and you won’t be disappointed, especially for the price.

Suppose you’re a beginner player searching for the best 7-string guitars that maintain high quality. In that case, the Ibanez Gio GRG7221QA is an excellent purchase.

Pros
  • Extremely Affordable
  • Well built for the price
  • The 5-way pick-up selector switch offers you a variety of tones
Cons
  • Quilted maple veneer looks cheap up close
  • Doesn't come with a gig bag

Best for Progressive Metal: PRS SE Mark Holcomb SVN

Best for Progressive Metal
PRS SE Mark Holcomb SVN

Looking for a guitar that can handle anything you throw at it? Then you need the Mark Holcomb PRS SE. This is the best 7-string guitar for progressive metal, and it's built to withstand whatever you can dish out.

The Mark Holcomb PRS is crafted with quality in mind. This guitar is made to command attention from the quilted maple top to the Seymour Duncan Alpha & Omega humbucking pickups. The split-coil tone knob and 3-way blade selector switch give you a wide range of tones to work with, so you can get the perfect sound for any situation.

Paul Reed Smith Guitars (PRS) isn’t the first guitar brand you think of when you think of metal music.

PRS has plenty of metal artists on their artist roster, like Between the Buried and Me, Limp Bizkit, and Of Mice and Men. However, you’re probably more familiar with them being in the hands of John Mayer and Carlos Santana.

But when you’re researching the best 7-string guitars, this one from Periphery’s Mark Holcomb is not one to be overlooked. This guitar is impeccably built, is incredibly easy to play, and looks beautiful with the quilted maple top.

What makes this guitar stand out from other extended range guitars on this list are the Seymour Duncan Alpha & Omega humbucking pickups. These pickups offer the best of all worlds and can do heavy, growly, pristine, and chime-like tones. This is thanks to the split-coil tone knob and a 3-way blade selector switch that gives this 7-string guitar great sonic versatility and sustain.

This makes the guitar incredibly versatile for all types of tones and can be used by players looking for a guitar that can expand beyond the metal genres.

The Mark Holcomb PRS SVN is built for speed and finger agility. The super-flat 20” radius satin maple neck with ebony fingerboard makes bending strings and fast lead lines a breeze. However, if you’re looking to play big chunky barre chords, you may find this quite tricky, especially if you have smaller hands. Unlike the other Periphery player’s signature guitar on this list (Misha Mansoor’s Juggernaut), this PRS has a 1.875” nut width making this a wide-feeling neck.

PRS is widely known for making some impeccably crafted guitars that are also mini art pieces. While this SE model is built at their Indonesian factory, this guitar is made with the same attention to detail as one of their USA-made guitars.

It features the same beautiful bird inlays synonymous with the PRS brand. The Mark Halcomb PRS comes in a gorgeous quilted maple top veneer or satin maple veneer that rests on a solid mahogany body.

There are a few drawbacks to consider when purchasing the Mark Halcomb SVE PRS. First, it’s a heavy guitar. Second, this guitar doesn’t feature any lock-in tuners, so you may want to consider modding the guitar if you’re looking for the tuning convenience.

Suppose you’re in the market for a new 7-string guitar and want one built with quality, playability, and versatility in mind. In that case, the PRS Mark Holcomb SVN should be at the top of your list. This guitar has everything you need to take your tone to the next level and can push your playing into whole new progressive territories.

Pros
  • The Alpha and Omega signature pickups are incredibly versatile and have excellent note separation even at high gain
  • Very well built and beautiful looking
  • Has a speedy and sleek neck that is built for high-flying finger acrobatics
  • Comes with a gig bag
Cons
  • Doesn't come with lock-in tuners
  • It's a heavy guitar
  • In the upper-price range for a non-USA made guitar

Best for Recording: ESP LTD SH7 EverTune

Best for Recording
ESP LTD SH7 EverTune

The ESP LTD SH7 EverTune is the perfect guitar for recording.

It features a unique bridge system that keeps the guitar in tune no matter how many times you play it. The push/pull tone knob also allows you to switch between passive and active pickups, giving you a wide range of tones to choose from. The 3-piece maple neck and ebony fingerboard are designed for speed playing, making it an enjoyable guitar to play anywhere on the neck.

So if you're looking for a high-quality guitar for your next studio session, the ESP LTD SH7 EverTune is a perfect choice.

Honestly, all the 7-string guitars on this list would be great for studio recordings. However, the Korn guitarist Brian Welch’s signature EST LTD “Sir Headly” stands out as the best for many reasons.

First, this guitar will not go out of tune. The EverTune bridge system, while confusing at first, does precisely as it is marketed to do. This is to keep your guitar perfectly tuned and have excellent intonation.

This is critical for when you are doing take after take and want to keep your creative juices flowing.

It’s incredible how you can stretch, pull, throw, and mangle your strings, and the guitar will not slip out of tune.

Another reason this guitar takes top honors as the best recording guitar is because of the neck design. The 3-piece maple neck with ebony fingerboard, neck-through joint (no neck heal), and binding are all designed for speed playing.

However, some of the specs are strange when you read them on paper:

  • 25.5” Scale Length
  • 1.968” nut width
  • 13.77” neck radius

These specs are unusual for the other guitars on this list. Still, LTD has created a rounder, shorter neck that relies on the EverTune bridge to maintain tension for the lower strings.

The wider nut width gives enough spacing between each string to make individual picking of notes easy. This guitar makes bending, slides, and lead lines effortless.

This guitar also comes equipped with Fishman Fluence Modern Alnico Humbucking pickups in the neck and Fishman Fluence Modern Ceramic Humbucking pickups in the bridge.

These pickups can be switched between passive and active pickups with the push/pull tone knob. This allows you to push the gain for highly aggressive and articulate tones and back off the gain for more modern, clean tones.

Even though this guitar is superbly made, has an incredible tone, and has a stunning look (if you like purple), it’s expensive and is a serious purchase.

Suppose you’re looking for a high-quality guitar that will stay in tune, is easy and fun to play, and has many tonal options for your studio recordings. In that case, the ESP LTD SH7 will exceed your expectations.

Pros
  • The neck is extremely comfortable and built for speed
  • Comes with a hardshell case
  • It's nearly impossible to make this guitar go out of tune thanks to the EverTune bridge
  • The pickups are very articulate and sonically versatile
Cons
  • It's expensive
  • The purple flamed maple top won't be for everyone
  • It's heavy

Best for Touring: ESP LTD Eclipse EC-1007 EverTune

Best for Touring
ESP LTD Eclipse EC-1007 EverTune

The ESP LTD Eclipse EC-1007 EverTune is one the best 7-string guitar for touring musicians. It features an EverTune bridge that practically eliminates the need for tuning, meaning you'll never have to worry about playing a song out of tune during a set ever again.

With its great tone, playability, and sleek design; the ESP LTD Eclipse EC-1007 EverTune is the perfect guitar for any touring hard rock or metal musician.

One of the significant challenges for touring musicians is having a guitar that they can depend on night after night. Because touring instruments are in constantly fluctuating temperatures and humidity, it’s common for guitars to warp and need continued maintenance to maintain playability.

The ESP LTD Eclipse EC-1007 is one such guitar that pretty much bypasses all of this.

First, it’s equipped with an EverTune bridge which is nearly impossible to make a string go out of tune with. This sounds like hyperbole, but this bridge does exactly as advertised.

This goes a long way for touring musicians. You won’t have to worry about your guitar going out of tune during your set, and you don’t have to worry about sudden shifts in intonation while traveling.

Also, the EverTune bridge allows 7-string guitars like the EC-1007 to have a shorter scale length while maintaining proper string tension. This gives a more “slinky” playability which makes bends and slides take less effort, which helps with your endurance during live shows.

The Les Paul inspired body style made of mahogany with a maple top is super thin and comfortable against your body. It’s got enough weight to help with the sustain of the notes but not heavy enough to get cumbersome during long sets.

The EMG 60-7H & EMG 81-7H humbucking active pickups have great note definition at high gains. However, some users have stated the neck pickup can be slightly dark and muddy.

This guitar doesn’t come with a case, so for gigging musicians, you will have to factor in a hardshell case into the purchase price of this guitar. This pushes the guitar’s price into a range where you might be better suited to start looking at more premium options like the Sir Headly.

If you’re searching for the best 7-string guitar to take on the road, there’s a lot the ESP LTD Eclipse EC-1007 EverTune has a lot to offer. It’s a very low-maintenance guitar that plays and sounds great. So don’t hesitate to give it a try!

Pros
  • The EverTune bridge will keep you in tune for your entire set
  • It's a very low-maintenance guitar that can withstand constant changes in weather and travel conditions
  • Has a stunning and thin design that isn't too heavy
  • Great hardware and appointments
Cons
  • It doesn't come with a case
  • It's expensive
  • Not the most sonically versatile guitar

Best Multiscale 7 String Guitar: Schecter Reaper-7

Best Multiscale 7-String
Schecter Reaper-7

The Schecter Reaper-7 is the perfect guitar for any musician looking to push their boundaries and explore new sonic possibilities.

With its unique multiscale neck, the Reaper-7 offers an unprecedented level of playability and tonal versatility. Whether you're looking to lay down some chugging metal riffs or explore more mellow sounds in the blues or pop genres, this guitar has you covered.

The Schecter Reaper-7 is an instrument that will inspire new levels of creativity in any player.

Multiscale guitars with fanned frets are fascinating instruments. If you’re used to playing standard guitars, looking down at the neck of a multiscale guitar can make you feel like you’re tripping out.

However, the practicality of the multiscale neck ensures that each string is at the most optimal string tension. This creates an extremely versatile and “tonal chameleon” of an instrument.

While the Schecter Reaper-7 looks like a guitar built primarily for pummeling metal, it’s actually one of the most versatile sounding instruments on this list. It does the djent thing superbly, thanks to the additional B string. It can also excel at playing blues, funk, and pop.

This is in part to the tonewoods and design of this eccentric 7-string guitar. The Schecter Reaper-7 features a swamp ash body and poplar burl veneer for a naturally resonant and mid-range rich tone.

The Diamond Decimator Humbucking passive pickups give you the hot output and face-melting tones you would expect from a hard rock guitar. But you can open up a whole world of tonal options when utilizing the push/pull split-coil design with the three-way selector switch.

The appointments on the Schecter Reaper-7 are also extremely high-quality. There’s a Hipshot hardtail pull-through bridge system, a favorite amongst many guitarists for its impeccable intonation, and is very comfortable to rest your hand on for palm muting.

The graphite nut, blade switch, and volume and tone knobs feel solid in your hands. The tuners work well, but it’s a bit of a bummer that they aren’t lock-in tuners, especially considering the guitar’s price.

Another complaint about this guitar is that the nut digs into your hand while playing the lower strings at the first fret. This can fatigue your hand after a while, and you may need to sand it down to make it smoother.

Also, while the neck of this guitar is designed for metal players, Schecter does have a rounder neck feel than other guitars like the Jackson and Ibanez. Some players like this little extra girth, but some may struggle, especially with smaller hands.

Suppose you’re searching for a guitar that will unlock new levels of creativity and be flexible enough to play face-melting metal and other non-traditional 7-string styles. In that case, the Schecter Reaper-7 might be just the instrument you’ve been looking for.

Pros
  • This guitar will help you find new levels of creativity and expression in your music
  • Has an incredible tone for hard rock and metal and even works well for non-metal genres like blues and funk
  • Comes with a Hipshot hardtail bridge that is very comfortable and keeps the guitar intonation in tack
  • Reaching the upper frets is seamless
Cons
  • Open chords and barre chords can feel awkward because of the fanned frets
  • Doesn't come with lock-in tuners
  • The neck nut can dig into your hand when playing on the low strings on the first few frets

Best for Heavy Drop Tunings: Ibanez Iron Label RGlXL7

Best for Heavy Drop Tunings
Ibanez Iron Label RGlXL7

The Ibanez Iron Label RG1XL7 is a powerful, versatile 7-string guitar perfect for players who want to explore the lowest of tunings.

With a longer scale length and bolt-on maple neck, this guitar is built for speed and agility, making it an excellent choice for shredders who think outside the box.

If you're looking to add some extra low-end growl to your sound, the RG1XL7 is the perfect tool for the job.

The Ibanez Iron Label RG1XL7 is a sleek, under-the-radar seven-string. It features a longer scale length than other guitars on this list (27”), and for this reason, this is an excellent option for players who want to play in extreme drop tunings.

The extended length allows you to tune in crazy death metal tunings like Drop G without losing proper string tension and causing the notes to sound tubby.

The Iron Label RG1XL7 also features Ibanez’s famous wizard bolt-on maple neck with an ebony fingerboard. This is a swift and flat style of neck that is perfect for shredding lead lines.

The DiMarzio Fusion Edge humbucking pickups have a push/pull knob for split coils and a three-way selector switch. This gives you some sonic versatility in this guitar, but the sweet spot is high-gain in-your-face distorted tones.

This guitar is slightly expensive given the simplicity of the design, and the plastic nut is a disappointment at this price point. Also, you will need to purchase a case separately, which you will have to factor into your overall cost.

Suppose you’re looking for a 7-string guitar that can get into those grungy deep drop tunings of an 8-string guitar. In that case, the Ibanez Iron Label RG1Xl7 is a great option.

Pros
  • It can be played in drop tunings without the strings sounding flabby and loose
  • The wizard neck is incredibly fast and effortless to play
  • Simple controls make this an everyday players guitar
Cons
  • The plastic nut is a disappointment at this price point
  • Doesn't come with a case

Buyer’s Guide

Suppose my list of the best 7-string guitars didn’t give you the answer you were looking for. In that case, the following 7-string buyer’s guide should help you understand the critical features you should look for in finding the perfect axe.

Scale Lengths

Typical electric guitars have a 24.5”-25.5” scale length. However, because of the added low B note, many seven-string guitars will have an extended scale length of 26.5”.

This is because there needs to be more string tension in extended-range guitars to ensure that your notes have better tuning stability and aren’t floppy.

While some seven-string guitars still use a 25.5” scale length, often the best 7 string guitars will have a 26.5”’ to 27” scale length.

When you’re doing your research on what seven-string electric guitar to buy, you will have to consider what scale length will best suit you.

If you plan on playing in standard tuning, or drop A, then a 26.5” will be your best option. However, suppose you want to experiment with alternative tunings and get some girthy and growly tones. In that case, a 27” scale length will allow you to drop the tunings without putting too much slack in the guitar strings.

Neck Radius

The neck radius of an electric guitar boils down to the amount of curvature of the neck. The rounder the neck (9.5”), the more comfortable it is for chords; the flatter the neck (15.5″+), the easier it is to play fast, shredding lead tones.

While there are many creative applications for 7-string guitars, the primary use case is for metal music.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a seven-string guitar with a round radius because you need the guitar to be easy for your fingers to fly up and down the neck.

However, some guitar manufacturers create “compound necks,” which have a rounder radius up by the neck and slowly taper off as you move up the fretboard.

This gives you the best of both worlds.

You’ll have the comfort and ease of playing chords up in the open positions while being able to shred the neck with fast fingerwork in the upper registers.

Nut Width

Nut width is one of those measurements on a guitar that can be confusing, especially if you’re shopping for 7-string guitars online.

Nut width is a feeling thing within both your hands. It affects the picking hand and the ease of note separation with lead lines and the fretting hand with playing notes without the interference of other strings.

When you look at guitar specs and see a difference in fractions, you might not know what to make of the number.

At its most basic, nut width measures the distance between the strings. For 7-String guitars, the most common nut width is 1.889”. This will make the neck of the guitar feel bigger and often more “chunky” if you’re used to playing 6-string electric guitars (1.75”). However, this extra nut width is necessary to allow room for the extra string.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. Suppose you’re a guitar player with smaller hands or want a guitar that will feel like your favorite six-string guitar. In that case, the editor’s choice Jackson Pro Series Misha Mansoor Signature Juggernaut HT7 features a standard nut width (1.75”) on a longer-scale seven-string guitar.

Tuning seven-string guitars

The idea of playing extended-range guitars can be intimidating at first. However, when you understand how the 7th string interacts with the other strings, you’ll see that it isn’t that hard to incorporate into your playing.

While you can experiment with all different types of tunings with seven-string guitars, there are two main tunings you’ll likely spend most of your time in.

B Standard

B Standard is the standard tuning of your guitar with the added low B string.

The best way to wrap your head around the low B String is to see it as the octave string to your high B string (5th string on a standard electric).

When you understand the Low B string as an extension of your guitar’s 5th and 6th strings, the added 7th string no longer feels intimidating. You can now incorporate the exact playing styles and patterns in the upper registers into your lower registers.

Drop A

Drop A is the Drop D of the 7-String guitar. If you’ve been playing guitar for any time, then you have experimented with this drop tuning, where all you have to do is lay your finger on the top 3 strings on the same fret to sound a chord.

On 7-string guitars, this tuning works the same way. Drop your B string down one whole step, and you get that same magic, just heavier and chunkier.

Multi-scale vs. Regular Scale

Traditional scale length guitars have the same scale length for all of the strings, which can result in some strings feeling too tight or too loose in comparison to the others.

Multi-scale guitars, or fanned fret guitars, consider the different string gauges and tensions necessary to create a well-balanced instrument. This results in every string being exactly where it needs to be, creating a more comfortable and ergonomic playing experience.

This can be a popular design for 7-string guitars. This is because it keeps your low-end focused, punchy, and tight while giving more slack to your higher strings for more effortless bends and fretting.

Whether or not this actually makes a difference in how well the guitar plays is up for debate. Some people love them, others hate them – it’s just a matter of personal preference.

Seven-string guitar vs. six-string guitar

For most guitar players, you’ll never need a 7-string guitar. The standard six-string guitar will be more than enough for you to express your creativity and play the music you love.

However, there are certain styles of music where a 7-string guitar can come in handy. These include:

• Metal/Hard Rock: The added low B string allows you to add more power and low-end to your riffs, not to mention those girthy, aggressive palm muting tones you get with that extra string.

• Jazz: The extra string gives you more melodic range and harmonic flexibility when soloing. Also, the extended range can add depth and nuance to your chord voicings.

• Classical: The extra string gives you more options regarding chords and voicings. You can create richer, fuller-sounding chords with a 7-string guitar. Finally, the extended range of a 7-string guitar can be beneficial when playing classical pieces that span a wider range of notes. 

Whether or not you ultimately decide to get a 7-string guitar is up to you. If you are looking to play a particular music style and need those seven strings to get the music in your head out into the world, then go for it.

However, if you’re just starting out and don’t know what you want, stick with a standard six-string electric guitar.

FAQ

Are 7 string guitars worth it?

There’s no simple answer to this question since it depends on your personal preferences and playing style. Some guitarists love the extra range of notes that 7-string guitars offer, while others find them cumbersome or overwhelming. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if a 7-string guitar is worth it for you.

However, in some styles of music, like modern metal music, where you can’t replicate the tone you’re after without that additional 7th string.

Who made the 7 string guitar popular?

This answer depends on who you talk to. I remember being persuaded to purchase a 7-string guitar because the guitarists of Korn played them (I’m a late 80s baby).

However, newer generations might have been inspired to explore 7-string guitars because of metal bands like Meshuggah and “djent” music.

While there are going to be those older than myself that remember Steve Vai bringing the 7-string guitar into heavy and alternative music.

Are 7 String Guitars Only for Metal Playing?

While 7-string guitars are trendy for metal guitarists, they can also be used for other music styles.

The extended range of 7-string guitars makes them great options for jazz and classical players looking for more flexibility in chord voicings and soloing.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for one of the best 7-string guitars for incredible sound and playability, the Jackson Pro Series Misha Mansoor Juggernaut HT7 should be at the top of your list.

It’s not the cheapest option, but it’s definitely one of the best in its price range. With its aggressive tone and trustworthy brand name, you can’t go wrong with this instrument.

Editor's Choice
Jackson Pro Series Misha Mansoor Juggernaut HT7
Jackson Pro Series Misha Mansoor Juggernaut HT7
  • Incredible tone and playability for the price
  • A perfect 7-string for djent
  • The stock Jackson MM1 pickups are very articulate and brutal sounding
  • Truss rod adjustment is very easy to access and adjust
For Budget
Ibanez Gio GRG7221QA
Ibanez Gio GRG7221QA
  • 25.5'' Scale Length makes transitioning from a six-string guitar more effortless
  • A high-quality and affordable guitar
  • An excellent guitar for articulate hard rock and metal tones
For Recording
ESP LTD SH7
ESP LTD SH7 "Sir Headly" EverTune
  • EverTune bridge keeps your guitar perfectly in tune, no matter how hard you play
  • The rounder and shorter neck is easy on your hands and makes for a better playing experience
  • Get the best of both worlds with active and passive pickups
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AUTHOR
Brad Johnson
Brad is the creator of Song Production Pros. He writes songs and surfs on the weekends when he's not too busy with family or this website. He writes music under the moniker FJ Isles, and can be heard on all streaming services.

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